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For most authors, creative writing is a labor of love: You’re probably not going to make enough money to pay off your bills and retire to a private island. Literary journals often operate on a shoestring budget and can’t afford to offer more than a token payment, if anything, for the stories, essays, and poems they publish. Some writing contests offer cash prizes, but only if you win. But don’t put away your piggy bank yet, writers: You may be able to make some money with personal essays and narrative nonfiction. The experts at Writer’s Relief know where to look for the best opportunities to make a little pocket change.
How To Make Money Writing Personal Essays And Narrative Nonfiction
Write For Local Publications
Print media has taken a hard hit, but there are still opportunities to write for local news outlets or magazines. Many traditionally print-only publications are now offering digital versions as well, and they’ll need material to post.
Check Out Freelance Writing Websites
Websites like ProBlogger and iWriter offer frequently updated lists of freelance writing opportunities for hopeful contributors. Every freelance writing website has pros and cons, so make sure you do your research before selecting one to work with. Once you’ve determined which freelance website best suits you, making contact: The more you apply, the more likely you’ll get a gig—and the sooner you can get paid for it!
Writers who have built an online following may be able to make some money by blogging—and a few dedicated writers may even blog full-time. If you want to bring in money by blogging, you’ll need to draw in a large crowd. Find your voice so you can deliver a message that’s unique and engaging. And stick to a schedule! Many bloggers start out with a promising premise, but then fade into obscurity when they become lax about posting regularly. Both your audience and the online algorithms will appreciate—and reward—consistent posts!
Research Possible Literary Magazines
While most literary journals don’t pay for accepted submissions—some do! You’ll have to spend time researching to find publications that pay their contributors. Once you find literary magazines that do pay for personal essays and nonfiction, be sure your writing style and subject matter are a good match; don’t send willy-nilly to any and every paying journal just for the sake of submitting. All you’ll end up doing is annoying the editors and get a reputation for not following publishing industry etiquette.
Before You Submit Personal Essays To Publications That Pay—Do This!
Of course, before you try to get paid for your personal essays and nonfiction, you must do this one important thing: Write a great essay! It’s important to understand the market you’re writing for—know what the readers want and what the editor is looking for in submissions. By putting a personal spin on the bigger issues, you’ll engage more readers. Then you’ll be ready to try the opportunities listed above and maybe make some money with your writing!
Question: What strategies have you found successful for getting paid for your writing?